The Coming Out Party of 1929
Written by Margaret Marshall Strawbridge, September 25, 1929
I am basking in the sunshine, gray squirrels are skipping along the fence, a proud hen is cackling from the barn yard, the starlings and blackbirds are whistling to each other from the branches above me and the woods near by.
I am living in memory [of] our party at Graeme Park last Saturday, the 21st of September. In the old house we have grown to love so much just as it is, that we feel to live in it, in these days of bath rooms, gas stoves, and electric lights would be sacrilege. For over a century Graeme Park has kept the memories and historic events of its first hundred years treasured in a charmed atmosphere which still lingers mysteriously real and even more beautiful with the mellowness of time.
I can’t begin to describe our pleasure in being able to bring to the old house the happiness I know it felt, last Saturday, when two beautiful young girls, our nieces Priscilla and Elizabeth Sailer, had their coming out party in its lovely old paneled drawing room. That was where we stood to receive the guests, who numbered nearly 1,000. We wore dresses that had once been worn in the 18th century by the three times great grandmother, Elizabeth Twells, for whom Betty Sailer was named, and who was Welsh and Anne’s great, great grand mother. The day was cool, so that a fire was blazing on the hearth, beneath the fine old mantel, sending lovely lights and shadows across the wide polished boards of the floor and the hand carved paneling of the walls. Myriads of flowers lent fragrance everywhere, and the whole house was gay with color and beauty. As the evening shadows fell candles were lighted. In a corner of the drawing room Mrs. Baseler and a girl, in old time dresses, played the harp and the violin – soft chords and melodies of the olden days –
“Sing me the songs, that to me were so deah
Long, long ago, long ago.
Tell me the tales, I delighted to heah
Long, long ago, long ago.”
Afterwards there was a dinner dance for the young people – more open fires, more lighted candles and a colored quartette to sing during the dinner, which we had served at little tables scattered about the three downstairs rooms. These were taken out afterwards to make room for the dancing and orchestra. Now it is all in memory and I shall treasure it always.